John Henry Cox, former publisher of the Atchison County Mail, Rock Port, Missouri, died on Sunday, December 30, 2018, at Santa Marta Retirement Community in Olathe, Kansas, at the age of 93.
He was born on December 6, 1925, at the family home known locally as the “Green House” in Rock Port. John Henry was the son of H. Charles “Charlie” Cox and Frieda Stapel Cox and older brother of Hardin “Hardy” Charles Cox of Rock Port. He attended the Opp Rural School and later graduated from Rock Port High School in 1943.
As a Boy Scout in Troop 59, John Henry attained the rank of Eagle Scout with four palms. He later served as Cub Scoutmaster of Pack 59, and Board Member/Trustee of Troop 59. He was an enthusiastic, lifelong supporter of Scouting.
He attended Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. During World War II John Henry served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army of Occupation in Ito, Japan. He again served our country as a First Lieutenant in the Army Reserves from 1952-1961.
John Henry attended the University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, where he was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and graduated with a B. S. in Business and Public Administration in 1950. Additionally, he pursued graduate studies at Missouri’s nationally recognized School of Journalism.
On September 23, 1950, he married Claire Gentry Weaver in St. Louis. They lived in Rock Port for 61 years where they raised three children. Claire, his wife of 66 years, died May 27, 2017.
In 1950, John Henry purchased Rock Port’s weekly newspaper, the Atchison County Mail. Acting as the paper’s publisher, reporter, editorialist (including the well-known “Kimosabi” column), ad-man, photographer and business manager, the Atchison County Mail received numerous awards and accolades over the next 34 years including being named the top weekly newspaper in the state by the Missouri Press Association. John Henry was dedicated to serving the people of Atchison County with truthful and accurate reporting of news events.
John Henry was elected President of the Northwest Press Association in 1969, President of the Missouri Press Association in 1979 and served as a Missouri Press Board Member for 12 years. For many years he was also Missouri’s Representative to the National Newspaper Association. Claire and John Henry traveled the world extensively, for press association study missions and on their own.
He served as director on many boards including the following: Farmers Mutual Insurance Company of Atchison County, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company, the Columbia Mutual Casualty Company in Columbia, Missouri, the Columbia Insurance Group, the SB 40 County Board, the First Lutheran Church of Rock Port, the Atchison-Holt Ambulance District and the Atchison County Library. He also served as the Atchison County Emergency Management Director and later as its Information Director.
John Henry was a lifelong member of the First Lutheran Church, the American Legion, the North Star Lodge 157 of the Masons, the Rock Port Rotary and the Rock Port Chamber of Commerce.
John Henry is survived by his son John Charles and daughter-in-law Emily of Greenwich, Connecticut, daughter Claire Frances (Frannie) of Leawood, Kansas, and son James Michael and daughter-in-law, Erin of Edwardsville, Illinois, along with six grandchildren, Elizabeth Snow, Hillary Cox, Charles Cox, Michael Cox, Anna Cox and Aster Carson. He is also survived by his nephews Bryan Cox and Mark Cox, brother-in-law James Jasper Weaver of Columbia Missouri, and three nieces, Jan Carrel, Lynn Weaver, and Nancy Beth Johnson.
In celebration of John Henry’s life, services will be held at Rock Port Lutheran Church on January 26, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Boys Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America, or First Lutheran Church of Rock Port.
Services are under the direction of Chamberlain Funeral Home, Rock Port. Online condolences may be left at www.chamberlainfuneral.com.